Monday, March 18, 2013

Amanuensis Monday: Frank Welch Lee's 1932 Travel Journal

Phi Delta Chi Fraternity Composite
Frank Welch Lee (top row, third from left)
University of Louisville, 1934

In the summer of 1932, my dad, Frank Welch Lee, was nineteen years old and had just completed a year of pharmacy school at the University of Louisville.  A member of  Phi Delta Chi, a pharmacy fraternity, Dad was  elected to attend the fraternity's national convention in Los Angeles, California.  Thus, began my dad's Great Adventure.  For the next few weeks, I'll make use of  Amanuensis Mondays and Travel Tuesdays to share with you the travel journal and the photo album Dad kept during this time.  Those who knew my dad will understand how rare and wonderful this piece of family history is.  For Dad to have traveled is surprising enough, but for this very private man to have documented his trip is almost unbelievable.

When I say that Dad kept a travel journal, what I mean is that he wrote down a few details of his trip in a little 3" x 5" notebook he kept in his shirt pocket. Some of the things he saw and experienced, however, are just amazing. Without further ado, here's Dad's first journal entry.

Entry # 1
Frank Welch Lee's 1932 Travel Journal
Tues--July 19, --32

Left home at 1:40, arrive in Louisville at 9: P.M.  Had a very pleasant trip although was very dusty when arrived.  Spent the night with Jim.  I sure did enjoy talking over old times together.


"Home" in this instance was probably his grandmother's home in La Grange, Kentucky, where Dad often stayed during his breaks from college.  He would have traveled from La Grange to Louisville by train.  The railroad tracks ran through Main Street right in front of the Lee house in La Grange.  The depot was only steps away from the house as well.  "Jim," I assume, was a friend, maybe a college buddy.

At the bottom of the page, written in pencil in a different handwriting, are some numbers and the words "Rains" and "gladiola bulbs."  I think these are probably some notes written by Dad's grandmother, Georgia Lee.  More than likely, Dad borrowed her notebook to serve as his "travel journal."

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